Congratulations to “Ma Sheila” fishing team on their tournament win of the premier IGFA Light Tackle Invitational, and to team member Jeff Wright also won top angler!
IGFA’s newest exclusive two-day tournament, known for its maximum line class of 12 pounds and strict adherence to IGFA Angling Rules, is sure to be a local favorite for years to come. Hosted at Sailfish Marina on Singer Island, Florida, the IGFA Light Tackle Invitational prides itself in being a genuine “angler’s tournament”- a platform for light tackle anglers from around the globe to showcase their skills and sportsmanship.
All proceeds from the IGFA Light Tackle Invitational will benefit the IGFA Great Marlin Race, the world’s most extensive billfish satellite tagging program, securing the future of billfish stocks across the globe through productive science.
While the tournament was planned during peak sailfish season in South Florida, you can’t always predict which days the fish will be biting. Fishing out of Palm Beach Inlet, teams were off to a slow start releasing sailfish 30 minutes after lines in, and the bite didn’t necessarily keep anyone on their toes. While “Reel Anglers” had the most releases(3) at the end of day 1, they were tied for first with “Ma Sheila” due to the scoring difference between dead and live bait (300 points for a sailfish release on dead bait, 200 points for live bait).
On day 2, “Reel Anglers” stepped up to the plate with three releases by 10:30, then “Ma Sheila” and “Lunatico” went 1-for-1 to catch up by 11:45. The bite being pretty even for dead and live bait, it became tough for teams to catch up to “Ma Sheila”, who released three more sailfish by lines out at the end of day 2.
“Ma Sheila”, a 37’ walkaround, won with a total of 8 releases (2400 points), “Reel Anglers” came in second with 7 releases (1400 points), and “Lunatico” came in third with 6 releases (1200 points). While only nine boats registered for the IGFA Light Tackle Invitational in its first year, this true angler tournament is definitely on the radar for competitive teams ready to prove their sportfishing prowess on 12-lb test.
The IGFA Light Tackle Invitational also serves as a qualifier for the 2020 Costa Offshore World Championship, the largest offshore fishing tournament series in the world. Before having the luxury of competing in this prestigious event, teams must qualify to receive an invitation. Once eligible, big-game anglers will travel to Quepos, Costa Rica, each spring to prove themselves worthy of the coveted title- Costa Offshore World Champion.